This weeks 4th blogger guest post is from the lovely Hannah who blogs at Hannah Spannah Coco Banana where she can be found writing wonderful posts about parenting, life, illness and a whole host of other topics all close to her heart.
Today she is sharing with us a current dilemma …
Am I Wrong To Let My Son Paint His Fingernails And Toenails?
Am I wrong to let my son paint his fingernails and toenails? He is 3 years old. He is text-book, dictionary definition of a boy. He is boisterous, crazy, loves nothing more than being covered in dirt, wading in the river, rolling in puddles, doing crazy stunts on his balance bike (such as riding it down a slide at the park. I kid you not!). His days are spent outside, digging and dumping. He pretends to be a back hoe digger. He is kind, loving, empathetic, friendly, chatty, moody, grumpy, silly and amazing.
He also likes me or his Grandma to paint his fingernails. I have a great collection. He’ll choose a different colour for each hand or even finger. From red to green, to pink to purple.
He see’s colour. I see development and natural inquisitiveness. His Father see’s gay. Wrong. The next Elton John.
I’m fighting back tears to write this. I have over 15 years experience in childcare. I used to teach Child development. My son is normal. He is a little boy who likes colour. He thinks that these wonderful, small, shiny and enticing bottles that he is forbidden to touch alone, are great! They are silver to a magpie, food to a labrador and chocolate to me!
I know that painting his nails won’t change make him homosexual. Just as letting a girl climb tree’s and play rugby won’t make her a lesbian. I don’t care if he is gay or transgender or curious. It doesn’t even come into this. But even if it did, I DON’T CARE. I want my son to be open-minded, tolerant, non judgemental and kind.
I know that it’s normal. Other childcare professionals will agree and I know that a lot of other Mum’s out there will agree. But what about the one’s who don’t?
My ex has a new girl friend. Today, they all spent time together after my son painted his nails last night. One of my biggest fears is that she won’t parent in a similar fashion to me. That she and her son’s will agree with his Father and think that our son, with his pink nails, is wrong. More importantly, I worry that they will tell him that. That he will be made to feel different and wrong. That he may be laughed at and made upset. I stupidly asked, when I found out that they had been together today, ‘what did your friend think of little man’s nails?’ in the hope that he would reply that she laughed or that her son’s used to do the same. That I would get an insight into the parenting style of a mother that my ex would like to become an important person in our son’s life. But no. ‘She wasn’t impressed.’
This is why I ask, am I wrong to let my son paint his fingernails? Because he will possibly be integrating into a new blended family and will suddenly have two older boys and their views and opinions to deal with. All that will be hard enough and makes me so worried for him. He is a loud confident boy, but he’s also gentle, emotional and is a thinker.
I read a brilliant article on Mr Fox about raising children in Sweden. The writer, Harriet Cobbold Hielte says:
I’m an English mother bringing up my children in Sweden. A country where many kids, regardless of sex, are dressed in 70s prints or brightly coloured stripes. Where a word was created to combine he and she to make a gender neutral pronoun, where pre-schools can have a ‘gender’ certificate, doll houses are painted blue and my four-year old daughter’s Montessori teacher weeps with frustration when the children insist on using the old-fashioned term ‘doll corner’ for the part of the classroom where there is a toy kitchen.
Sweden is also the country where parental leave is shared: there are two months that can only be taken by the father. When it’s time for the mother to go back to work the ‘latte pappa’ takes over. You see him in cafés, hair perfectly styled, one year old sucking contentedly on a spoon on his lap, while he chats with the other latte pappas and wonders why his wife made such a big deal of being at home with a baby.
And I mocked all of this because I’m English and come from a family where men are expected to play rugby and even if your leg were to be knocked off you would play on.
Only these days I keep a little quiet, because I have a son who is fascinated by cars and dinosaurs and space, who roams through the woods looking for the perfect stick but also likes to go through my jewellery drawer. A boy who longs for fairy castles and flying ponies from Playmobil as well as wanting their police station; who casts covetous glances at his sister’s colourful wardrobe and stares mournfully at her as she plays with her stash of hairclips and flaunts her ponytail. And just occasionally he puts on a dress and twirls until he falls over. Click here to read the full article
I love this approach but I don’t live in Sweden. Should I stop him, in order to protect him? Am I wrong to allow him when I don’t know the people he spends time with? Am I being indulgent and not a good mother?
What would you do?